The great revolutionary activist Yuri Kochiyama died at the age of 93 on Sunday June 1st 2014.
Born and raised in Southern California’s San Pedro, she was transported at age 20 to internment camps during World War II where her political transformation began. After her release she married Bill Kochiyama, who was enlisted in the US Army.
It was in New York where she met Malcolm X for the first time and formed a deep bond with him. In fact it was in her arms that Malcolm died when he was shot and killed in Harlem on February 21, 1965.
Yuri Kochiyama also became active in the struggles of Puerto Rican activists for sovereignty and was seen as an icon of Asian American activism against the Vietnam War. She also did solidarity work with political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal.
In 2005, Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” project. She wrote her memoir Passing it On.
She lived in the Bay area for many years and was in her Berkeley home when she died.
GUEST: Diane Fujino, Professor of Asian American Studies at UC Santa Barbara and also the Director of the Center for Black Studies Research At UC Santa Barbara. She is the Author of Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama